Senscot Bulletin: 17.06.11

Dear members and friends,

Political commentator, Gerry Hassan did his column (and a radio programme) last week about Scottish male identity – he believes we need to talk about it. He writes openly and sometimes movingly about his own upbringing – an only child in a working class household in Dundee; but it’s the effect on his dad of losing his job, at the local NCR factory, which stays with me – a painful unravelling.
 Amongst readers’ responses to his piece is this critique: "It seems to have something to do with men (Scottish men especially?) – investing their sense of purpose and self in work (and the fraternity of work) – then the work disappearing. A corrosive sense of grievance takes hold – then powerlessness, cynicism, self-contempt. What’s curious is how this experience has become ‘nationalised’ – so that post-war culture makes ‘damaged’, betrayed or dysfunctional working class men, the iconic carriers of Scottish identity."  This is an interesting point – the strength of our identification with the ‘losers’.
 Although I grew up in post-war Scotland – we were not working class – never knew the despair of Gerry’s dad. Out tribe were self-employed shopkeepers – with the raw determination of new immigrants – a culture of hard work and self-reliance. This, of course, had its own privations (‘the shop’ ruled our lives) – but on balance I’m grateful for that ‘training’ – because it gave me the confidence to create my own employment – and self-generated work has been (is) the blessing of my life.

A ‘stushie’ is developing in England, around what are called ‘solicited bids’ – where the Big Lottery ignores the normal competitive process – and negotiates directly with a particular organisation – behind the scenes.  This is a blog from Richard Caulfield (charity boss) alleging cronyism – and a reply from Peter Wanless (lottery boss). The largest ‘solicited bid’ I’m aware of in Scotland – is when, in 2007, SCVO got £8m to ‘modernise’ the local third sector infrastructure – called the SVA programme.  From what Senscot members tell us – there are serious doubts about the effectiveness of this programme – whether some of the new ‘interfaces’ have indeed been ‘modernised’.  I would love to know how that £8m deal was done.  There is nothing in principle against the occasional ‘solicited bid’ – but they require more – not less transparency. 

The ‘dodgiest’ of the recent English solicited bids – looks like the £11m given to Social Finance.  Its website doesn’t say, but I suspect that this is a ‘for profit’ company – with ‘banking sector’ rather than third sector salary levels.  If I’m right, this needs further examination – because these are the people determining the culture of the Big Society Bank.

The new Scottish Govt contract for Business Support Services to the Third Sector has been awarded to a consortium led by CEIS and includes, amongst others, the Social Enterprise Academy, Firstport and Hisez; it will operate under the name ‘Just Enterprise’.  Members of the new consortium are Scotland’s major social enterprise support providers – enabling a disparate range of services to be integrated for the first time.

News this week that Craig Campbell will be leaving Social Investment Scotland (SIS) at the end of this month to take up a new post as CEO of the Homeless World Cup. Craig has spent 27 months at SIS and overseen an investment portfolio of £33m, spread across 120 organisations. We caught up earlier this week to ask him about his move. See,

Stuff written about social investment in Third Sector Trade mags, can be a bit ‘pie in the sky’.  This piece is from a financial sector mag: ‘Money Matters’ – a briefing by the head of financial services at ipsos MORI – for money people; an interesting perspective.

I am a long time fan of Archbishop Rowan Williams – a rare combination of intellect, moral authority and humanity.  I welcome his occasional observations on govt. policy:- "The govt. needs to know how scared people are."  He was guest editor of the New Statesman last week, and his editorial rattled the PM’s cage. In his piece, he tries to articulate the nature of ‘sustainable community’: "one in which, what circulates – like the flow of blood – is the mutual creation of capacity – building the ability of the other person or group to become, in turn, a giver of life and responsibility."  Beautifully put.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See . This week:
JOBS: Migrants Support Services, The Place2Be; Highland Hospice; Cranstoun Community Development Project; Federation of Scottish Theatre; With Kids; Hear My Music; Action for Children
EVENTS: Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society Annual Conference, 18 Jun; Opportunities for Communities, 23 Jun; The Big Event – Scotland’s Policy Summit, 23 Jun
TENDERS: Community Bakery Feasibility Study; Potential for Renewable Local Energy Generation in the Stirling Council area; Supply and Delivery of Printing and Design Services, Incorporating High Volume Copying; Supply & Distribution of Fresh Fruit & Vegetables

NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes:  Yesterday, Senscot and Social Firms Scotland (SFS) met with Alasdair Nicholson, the social enterprise spokesperson for Voluntary Action Scotland (VAS). After the difficulties of the last 12/18 months, we were keen to explore how we could work together better to ensure that the social enterprise community is adequately supported through their respective Single Interfaces. The good news is that both parties are keen to improve communications and engagement so that the ‘supporting social enterprise’ function is delivered as effectively and consistently as possible across all Interfaces. A number of immediate actions were agreed that will include quarterly meetings between VAS, SFS, SSEC and Senscot. Alasdair also offered to attend the next SEN Reps meeting. For more Networks News, see

Triodos Bank has recently given its first loan to a Housing Association in Scotland – £1.3m to Yorkhill Housing Association Ltd – for the purchase of additional offices and flats. Altho’ they have considerable experience in supporting community-based HAs in England, this is their first experience in Scotland – but one which they are hoping to build on. This follows on from the news that Triodos has increased its ‘loan book’ by 18% since the start of 2011. In Scotland, these include loans to Fife Harca, Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust and Sleat Community Trust. See more,

It looks like the Scottish Lottery has come up with another excellent programme – Community Spaces Scotland – £9m over 3 years.  The money is for communities to create somewhere local – where people can come together; a hall – a park – allotments – whatever.  The average investment will be £100k – which means around 30 per year.  Check first if your post code is eligible.

The number of social enterprises in the UK is stated – particularly on the London scene – as 62,000.  Recent research indicates that this is a gross exaggeration – that the majority of businesses in this count don’t have an asset lock; so why do organisations like the Social Enterprise Coalition use this statistic?  The correct number is probably around half – at 30,000; 10% of that for Scotland – around 3,000 – feels about right.  The concern is that the term social enterprise becomes debased.

This week’s bulletin profiles an impressive new conference and events venue in Edinburgh – The Norton Park Conference Centre ( ). The Centre, located next to Easter Road Stadium, opened late last year and provides third sector organisations access to affordable, modern, accessible and professional meeting spaces from large conferences (up to 150 folk) to small informal meetings. See more,

Extract from Gerry Hassan’s column ‘The story of becoming a modern Scottish man’. "In 1987, Dundee United got to the UEFA Cup Final against IFK Gothenburg – the second leg was at home after we lost the first leg one-nil.  It was a packed, romantic, expectant Tannadice that Wednesday May night.  I can still visualise standing next to my dad in the terracing behind one of the goals known as the ‘The Shed’.  We played well, but a first half goal from IFK Gothenburg killed the tie, and although we scored, we drew one-all, and lost the final two-one aggregate.  Then something magical happened.  The United fans aware of the occasion – started applauding both teams off the park in a sustained applause.  It was a special, inclusive moment, and one UEFA recognised by giving United a fair play award.  My father, whose story with Dundee United went back to his father and tales of United playing in front of crowds of 500 while second bottom of the Second Division, started to cry.  He stood there on the terraces and cried, tears running down his cheeks…  That was the only time I saw my father cry."

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


Subscribe to this bulletin:

To unsubscribe or change subscription address/ e-mail

Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210